Adventures in Grand Openings: Part One

Adventures in Grand Openings: Part One

June 1, 2010 by

Recently, Mission Community Church launched a brand new campus, complete with a promise that they’d donate five years of clean, safe drinking water for every person in attendance. This obviously made a splash, and we caught up with Brian Kaufman to talk about the promotion and opening.

We’re going to delve into their story in two parts. Firstly, why did they go this route? What was their inspiration? Then we’ll get into the results and the follow-up. Here’s our first conversation with Brian:

Can you tell us a bit more about yourself, who you are and how you’re involved with Mission68?

Brian Kaufman: I am principal and creative director of Tipping Media, a small agency outside of Phoenix, Ariz., that works primarily with nonprofit, faith-based and political organizations. My wife, Amy, and I have attended MISSION Community Church for nearly three years. During that time and through some personal connections, Tipping Media was able to work on a number of items for MISSION—including a building capital campaign, social media strategy, web strategy and most recently the campus expansion Grand Opening campaign.

I also coauthor an online e-zine called Shrink the Church which was created as a resource to churches looking to simplify, make better use of their resources and explore creative social media and web strategies while having a little fun along the way.

So you mentioned the Grand Opening, which is how we got in touch recently. I understand it was a “campus expansion” launch on March 28, 2010. Can you tell us a little more about what that means?

Brian: A few years ago MISSION arrived at a moment where they recognized rapid member growth on a campus that was not built to support the increasing numbers. They were running five packed services and children/student space was also quickly filling up. As the story goes with a lot of churches, MISSION explored several options including satellite campuses, increased services and a church plant, but, ultimately felt the best use of both financial and human resources was to expand the current campus.

The campus expansion included a 1,500-seat worship center, adult classrooms, student center and office space as well as some remodeling as existing space was reworked for new requirements. Originally, when the campus was built there was an area dedicated for offices, but, as the church grew the staff gave up that space to support the growing children’s ministry and nursery. To optimize their budget they opted not to lease office space and instead made best use of the campus and basically fit themselves in wherever they could work.

With the new expansion MISSION has positioned itself to essentially more than triple its capacity to minister.

Wow, tripling your ministry is always nice. You guys had an interesting pitch for people to come. Not a sweepstakes, giveaway or performance. What was the hook?

Brian: Churches often use moments like these to draw a lot of attention. Yes, we’d like to see our attendance increase, and if we are honest, despite the tremendous financial costs in building, we are also very excited about the future. Large churches in our area had used celebrities to attract the community to their grand openings. It is an effective way to draw in all types of people.

We had considered inviting former Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner to come and speak at our grand opening, but it felt uncomfortable. It would not only take our entire grand opening budget to get Kurt there, but also, and more importantly, we did not feel that paying a celebrity to come speak in that moment fit with our Micah 6:8 vision—do justice, love mercy, walk humbly.

Instead we chose to use our budget to “do justice.” Working with a nonprofit organization called charity: water we agreed to donate five years of clean, safe drinking water for each person that joined us on our grand opening. We believed that type of justice resonated with Christians and non-Christians alike. We wanted the community to come be a part of something incredible, and all we asked of them was to show up.

Pretty interesting. And I know you’re still crunching numbers and gathering feedback, but gut-level, what was your perception of how it went?

Brian: It’s important to note that this was the grand opening to the community, not to the current attenders at MISSION. We actually opened the new building three weeks prior to our March 28th grand opening. This not only allowed us time to transition and train but also to celebrate together as a local church body. We filmed and aired a 30-second spot, created a grand opening website and distributed a mailer to approximately 70,000 households within a five mile radius of the church. We also heavily incorporated social media and put other invite tools into our people’s hands.

We have received a lot of positive feedback on the day. People celebrated with us as they looked around and realized how much water people would be receiving just because they were there. We had a speaker from charity: water open with 20 minutes on where the water was going (a village in Haiti) and how we were involved. The energy during worship was, to me, incredible as people drowned out the voices on stage. It was a very cool moment to be a part of.

Come back next week for Adventures in Grand Openings Part Two.

Post By:

Joshua Cody

Josh Cody served as our associate editor for several years before moving on to bigger things. Like Texas. These days he lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife, and you can find him online or on Twitter when he's not wrestling code.
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2 Responses to “Adventures in Grand Openings: Part One”

  • el chupacabras
    June 2, 2010

    Its great that Mission is relevant in the community, but as I read this I am concerned. My question is this, although thousands are coming through the doors, are thousands actually being transformed?

    In our efforts to continually “sell” the church, have we sold out the revolutionary discipleship based ministry that Jesus started, modeled, and told us to continue.?

    When you study, really study, the life of Christ (which if you ask me is necessary if we want to be know as Christians, little Christs) he walked along side of a small group of men and invested everything in them. Maybe the pastoral staff at Mission are doing that and living out the calling. All I know is that its hard to do if we are always trying to market salvation.

    Again, turning to Jesus’ teachings, its pretty hard to see how giving away toys and booking Christian stars jives with: If you follow me you will suffer, you will cry, you will have to choose this or your family, or your money, or your life.

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  • ryan guard
    June 4, 2010

    Thanks for covering this story Joshua. I’m one of the pastors at Mission.

    el chupacabra, I totally understand your concern, and it’s one that is shared by our staff at Mission. We work hard to focus on becoming more and more like Jesus. Swing by our website and you’ll see a glimpse into what we prioritize on a daily basis. Brad Abare wrote an article right here on CMS that is related to this conversation:

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